Crimes fall into two major categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Each crime comes with consequences, both short-term and long-term; however, being charged with a felony involves consequences that are much more severe. This is why it is crucial that you contact a criminal defense attorney within hours of being arrested. You need someone on your side from the very start, making sure that your rights are being protected.
After being charged with a crime, you may not know whether you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor or a felony. Regardless, it is pertinent that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. At Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we are here to guide you through the justice system and help you to understand your rights—from your initial arrest to the final trial, and beyond.
Start fighting for your rights by calling our Atlanta, Georgia, criminal defense attorneys today. At Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we will be your greatest advocates, defending your best interests to the best of our abilities—each and every day.
What is a felony?
A felony is a crime that is considered to cause severe damage or harm to other people or property. It typically includes violence or other actions that will do harm to others. Felonies are taken very seriously in the Georgia justice system. Being charged with this type of crime is a scary experience. It is intimidating, but it is important to remember this: you were accused or charged with a crime, but you still have rights.
One of your most important rights is your right to an attorney; you should use that right as soon as you possibly can.
In Georgia, the following crimes are considered felonies:
Murder: Whether it was the result of self-defense or you were involved in a fatal car accident, being charged with murder is serious and should be treated as such by all parties involved. At Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we know how scary of a time it is if you or your loved one has been accused of this crime. We’ll communicate with you openly and honestly throughout this entire process. You’ll understand your options—we think this is very important.
Rape: Responding to a sexual offense allegation isn’t something you should do without an experienced criminal defense attorney. Clearing your name isn’t as easy as making a denial to the claim. We stress the importance of remaining silent until you’re able to contact a rape defense lawyer. Whether you’ve been verbally accused or there have been charges filed against you, contact an experienced and honest sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible.
Burglary: If you’ve been arrested for a burglary in Atlanta, you are being accused of breaking and entering into a building with the intention of robbery. Our team will investigate the circumstances of the evidence and evaluate your case.
Robbery: This is a theft charge: “theft by taking.” It involves the deliberate action of stealing something from someone else’s home, business, or property. Learn more about theft charges.
Arson: This is when a person is accused of deliberately starting a fire. Investigators and the fire marshal will examine the scene after a fire and determine whether or not it was an accident. If you are the suspect of this felony crime, it’s crucial you call your defense lawyer promptly. The more evidence your defense can gather before arraignment (a term which we will explain later), the better off you will be.
Kidnapping: This felony is not always as cut and dry as you might think. This includes the taking of a minor from a parent, but it also includes custody disagreements and other domestic issues. Regardless, we can defend your rights after you’ve been arrested for the felony of kidnapping.
The penalties for felonies typically include one year of prison or more and significant fines associated with them varying largely on the severity of the offense. If you or your loved one has been accused of one of these crimes, please contact Pak and McRae Law, LLC. We’ll fight for your well-being and do our best to decrease the impact of the penalties. We know and understand the Atlanta, Georgia, criminal justice system; we have the knowledge and experience to help you during this trying time.
Understanding the Georgia Felony Process
Typically there are three major events in the felony process in Georgia: the arrest, the arraignment, and the trial.
This is where you are arrested under the suspicion of committing a felony offense. The arresting officer must have probable cause in order to search or arrest you and must have at least one specific crime that he has probable cause to charge you with. Often times, an officer will still be required to acquire an arrest warrant to search your belongings or property. If he doesn’t see anything incriminating within plain view, he may not be able to obtain an arrest warrant, at which point you will have the constitutional right to not answer any of his questions. You also have the constitutional right to contact an attorney, which is highly advised in a felony charge. The felony defense lawyers at Pak and McRae Law, LLC can help you, even at the scene of your arrest. The sooner you call an attorney the sooner you have someone fighting for your rights.
This is where the court must formally notify you of the exact crimes with which you are being charged; it must be done within seventy-two hours of your arrest. This is where you will be given an opportunity to enter a plea, which could consist of:
- Guilty plea: you admit to committing the crime
- Not guilty plea: you are not admitting to committing the crime
- No contest plea: you don’t dispute the charges, but you aren’t admitting guilt
- Mute plea: you do not agree to the process thus far and it is recorded as not guilty in the court
Many make the mistake of going through the arraignment before hiring an attorney. They wait for this to happen, and then determine the need. It is crucial to have a criminal defense lawyer present at your felony crime arraignment, though, as it determines many other factors of your case. Don’t wait; be sure to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side before arraignment. At Pak and McRae Law, LLC, we take a proactive approach to this phase of the felony process. We don’t go into court with questions; we go with the answers.
If you do not plead guilty and you do not enter into a plea agreement with the prosecution, then you will have a court date set for a trial where you will be allowed to present your case before a judge and/or a jury to determine whether or not you are guilty of the charged crimes. Under Georgia law, you have the right to a trial by jury, but you may also opt for what is called a “bench trial” which means that your case will be presented to a judge only. Once your case has been heard by a judge or jury, your guilt is determined by the said bodies, and if found guilty, a sentence is administered.
Call a Felony Crime Defense Lawyer Today
We know that these steps aren’t cut and dry; the Georgia criminal defense system is confusing, but it is our job to make sure you understand each step. It is important to understand your rights and your options each step of the way in order to build a case, which can provide you with the best possible outcome. Call our Atlanta, Georgia, felony defense lawyers today so that we can help you better comprehend where you stand and how you can fight your charges.